Nizar ibn Ma'ad

Nizar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan (Arabic: نزار بن معد بن عدنان‎) is the common ancestor of most of the northern Arab tribes (the Adnanites). As a result, the term Nizar, or Nizariyya (نزارية), has been used as a loosely defined name for a group of tribes, most commonly containing the Rabi'a and Mudhar tribes, but occasionally being extended to include others.

Nizar ibn Ma'ad ibn Adnan
نزار بن معد بن عدنان
FatherMa'ad ibn Adnan
MotherMu'ana bint Jahla Jurhum tribe
Family tree from Adnan to Muhammad


His father is Ma'ad ibn Adnan, while his mother, Mu'ana bint Jahla, hailed from the South Arabian Jurhum tribe.[1] More notable are his four sons, and progenitors of major tribal groupings: Rabi'a, Mudar, Anmar, and Iyad.[1][2] According to the Arab genealogists, Mudar and Iyad were sired by Sawda bint Akk ibn Adnan, and Rabi'a and Anmar by Hadala bint Wa'lan of the Jurhum.[2]

Family treeEdit

Ma'ad ibn AdnanMu'ana bint Jahla
Quda'aNizar ibn Ma'adIyad ibn Ma'ad
Mudar ibn NizarRabi'a ibn NizarIyad ibn NizarAnmar ibn Nizar

Tribal labelEdit

The term Nizar is rarely attested in the pre-Islamic period.[1] It is only after the Battle of Marj Rahit in 684, which cemented the rivalry between "southern" and "northern" Arab tribes, that the term Nizar (Banu Nizar or Nizariyya) begins to appear frequently, being used as an ethnic and political marker, contrasting with the southern "Yemeni" (Yamaniyya) or "Qahtanite" (Banu Qahtan) tribes.[3] The term Ibna Nizar (lit.'the two sons of Nizar') was applied to the two large "northern" tribal groups of Rabi'a and Mudar, who were previously considered as unrelated. The tribes claiming descent from Iyad or Anmar, who in some sources were regarded as sons of Ma'ad, were only rarely considered part of the Nizari tribes.[1] The term remained vague and malleable, however: attempts were made to reclassify the Banu Kalb, originally of "southern" origin, as descendants of Nizar, since they were among the most important supporters of the "Nizari" Umayyad dynasty.[3]

As the linguist and historian Giorgio Levi Della Vida writes, "it is evident that we cannot speak of Nizar as a tribe which had a real historical existence nor, as is the case with the Ma'add, as a comprehensive term indicating an effective grouping together of a number of tribes of different origin. Nizar is simply a fictitious invention, a label intended to serve political interests".[4]


The tradition states that Muhammad was the son of 'Abdullah, b. 'Abdu'I-Muttalib (whose name was Shayba), b. Hashim (whose name was 'Amr), b. Abd Manaf (whose name was al-Mughira), b. Qusay (whose name was Zayd), b. Kilab, b. Murrah, b. Ka'b, b. Lu'ayy, b. Ghalib, b. Fihr, b. Malik, b. al-Nadr, b. Kinana, b. Khuzayma, b. Mudrika (whose name was 'Amir), b. Ilyas, b. Mudar, b. Nizar, b. Ma'add, b. Adnan, b. Udd (or Udad),....b. Ya'rub, b. Yashjub, b. Qedar, b. Isma'il, b. Ibrahim, the friend of the Compassionate.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Levi Della Vida 1995, p. 82.
  2. ^ a b Kindermann 1995, p. 352.
  3. ^ a b Levi Della Vida 1995, pp. 82–83.
  4. ^ Levi Della Vida 1995, p. 83.
  5. ^ Ibn Ishaq; Guillaume (1955). The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Isḥāq’s sīrat. London. p. 3. ISBN 0195778286.